Jan 11, 2011: Markey Secures $1.6 Billion in Additional Home Heating Funds

Fully-funding LIHEAP program prevents loss of benefits for more than 200,000 MA families

WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Malden), a longtime champion of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), today announced that the Department of Health and Human Services will release $1.6 billion in additional funding to states for the critical home-heating program through March 4. The release of these additional funds will allow for states to receive virtually the same level of funding as in FY 2010. Massachusetts will receive more than $173 million during that time period. The LIHEAP funding comes as a result of the recently passed Continuing Resolution that will keep the federal government funded for the next 7 weeks.

Rep. Markey has led the fight in the House to fully fund LIHEAP this winter, leading two letters with his House colleagues over the last three months calling for the program to be fully funded in any continuing resolution. The letters are attached here.

Due to discrepancies between the funding levels set forth by the House and Senate, states were  being forced to reduce LIHEAP benefits. Massachusetts was facing a $75 million loss in aid to families this winter. With this additional funding, LIHEAP will be fully funded though March 4 and states can begin to once again provide the same level of aid as last year.

As Massachusetts braces for yet another winter storm, these additional LIHEAP funds ensure Bay State families will not be left out in the cold,” Rep Markey said. “With families working to make ends meet during these touch economic times, no one should be forced to make a choice between heating and eating. I am pleased that the Administration has released these funds that hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts families depend on to get through the winter.”

In Massachusetts, more than 200,000 families depend on the program to help heat their homes. More than 65,000 Massachusetts families rely on LIHEAP to help pay for delivered fuel. Without these additional funds, the majority of these families would have exhausted their benefits by early February.

For more information on LIHEAP and where to apply, please visit the following website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/brochure/brochure.pdf